Shortly after Google removed author photos back in July, they took aim at video snippets as well, dramatically reducing the prevalence of video snippets in universal search results. Here is a great post explaining the changes. Aside from the few video website giants like Youtube, Vimeo, Vevo, and Ted, most of the other websites saw their video snippets disappear in search results. For example, Moz lost most of their rich snippets for their whiteboard Friday videos.
SEOlytics compared 10 000 video results in the US on July 16th and 17th :
Whatever the reasoning is behind Google’s snippet change – most likely having to do with bringing more traffic to Youtube, therefore selling more ads - this has an impact on your video marketing strategy. Youtube’s importance in terms of SEO is greater than ever, but it doesn’t mean you should post all your videos on Youtube. There are other alternatives worth considering.
Even with the recent change, Youtube should not be a content repository where you dump all your videos. It is important to consider whether your content is useful for the Youtube audience, because above all, it is an entertainment platform. Engagement and subscriptions play an important factor in the success of your Youtube channel, so you need to have a plan and vision for it to work. Viewers however typically don’t want to watch obviously promoted videos about a certain product (direct sales) or service content. Trying to convert with content on Youtube will have limited value since users cannot make a purchase on the platform and the click-through-rate back to your site is extremely low - usually under 1%. Attempting to sell a product before the user even visits your site is usually a bad approach.
Brand awareness. Youtube is all about reaching massive global audiences and building conversations around your brand. If your goal is to get views, to create relationships and user engagement, then Youtube is the perfect platform. But to keep continuous engagement on Youtube, you need to tell a story, have content that entertains and informs (thought leadership, tips and how to’s), and know what you are trying to achieve with the video content. Once you have determined which videos will be hosted on Youtube, they will have a higher chance of going viral because successful videos appear in related and suggested searches, thus greatly increasing visibility. Keep in mind that Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world. Lastly, with Google’s aforementioned snippet change, your Youtube videos will have a better chance of getting clicked on in search results since it will usually be the only result with a rich snippet.
For a more detailed approach on the subject, refer to Phil Nottingham’s article on video strategy. Here are some benefits of using hosting platforms that are different from Youtube.
After selecting the best platform for hosting based on your business goals and strategies, there are a few important technical aspects to implement in order to maximize visibility for search engines. We will not delve too deep into this topic since this is not the focus of the post, but there are however, a few pointers worth noting. Refer to this article for more technical details.
So your videos are now well optimized, properly hosted, and everything is setup for success. But the fun doesn’t stop here. How users will interact with your videos, how they are shared and on which platform, which metrics to look at and how to integrate your video content with other rich media on your website are all important questions that need to be addressed. It all comes down to extracting valuable data, getting good insights through third party tools and showing that your video strategy really works. We have found three tools that can help you in your engagement and data analysis efforts.
Considering how important videos are to the modern web experience, improving user engagement is key. ThingLink does a great job by working to provide tools that enable users to extract value through videos by interacting with elements featured by call to actions. You can add clickable tags to any image or video on the web and enable users to share the tagged images on social network. Watch their demo here.
A total of 70 different rich media tags can be implemented on videos.
Paying attention to what the competition is doing and measuring the impact of your videos on social networks should always be part of your video content strategy. Unruly has the perfect tool for this: Unruly Anlaytics. The platform shows social impact on your video strategies vs. competitors. Metrics include total shares, shares by platform, views, views by platform, comments and likes. Real time data is also available.
While Wistia isn’t the only 3rd party hosting platform with great analytics, it is probably the one that gives the most comprehensive and user friendly sets of data. One of its great feature is the heatmaps. It is provided for each video to determine where the viewer dropped off, where they rewound to watch again, and where they are from.
For other media level insights, you can view the engagement graph as seen below.
The blue section shows the engagement of viewers who clicked play on the video. The orange section on top shows the number of times that section was re-watched. Additional summary stats are also provided.
Combining the tools
Firstly, we have a unique way of increasing customer engagement by serving them premium content on top of videos with ThingLink. Next, Wistia provides a powerful tool to measure user interaction on these enriched videos thanks to heatmaps and engagement metrics. Finally, we are able to see how these videos perform globally on social networks with Unruly Analytics. The three tools mentioned, can considerably empower your video content strategy if used hand in hand or individually since they do come at a cost and not all business can afford them.
Data aggregation challenges
As previously stated, third party tools can provide extremely valuable data for your overall video content strategy. The challenge though is to find a way to extract all the data and to centralize them along with the metrics your website is giving you. For now, there is no easy way to go about this. While a platform like Wistia allows you to extract all their data in CSV format, additional manipulation is required to cross the data with the ones in Google Analytics for example. There are many tools, all of which have different levels of options and reporting. The ones mentioned above are what we feel will provide you with the most value.